Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tommy / Love

I don't know what it is about vintage trophies, but I like 'em.  I picked this one up from Mechanical Stag on Etsy.  It's a prize for tennis prowess.  And there's a little surprise....

Tah dah!  It's bright blue inside! 

It was about a year ago that I bought my other trophies.  Maybe it's something about this time of year that makes me semi-wistful for any type of athletic ability.  Oh well.  Pointing and clicking are more my speed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More Like This, Please

Restoration Hardware should really consider more ads such as this one.  It's graphic and slightly witty without being too cute-sy.  I like it. 

Now...if only they'd come down about 85% on their prices....

Monday, June 27, 2011

Trading Up

I may have mentioned before, but I love Trader Joe's.  Just love it.  I took today off and treated myself to a little TJ sweep.  Yum.

Here are some of my Trader Joe's all-stars. 

1. Chicken drumettes.  They're like frozen chicken nuggs but way tastier.
2. Dark chocolate peanut butter cups.  Smooth and creamy.  And antioxidant-y.
3. Organic peanut butter sandwich cookies.  Imagine Ritz Bitz but with flavor.
4. Gone Bananas! Frozen, chocolate-covered banana bites. 
5. Fudge and/or Caramel Sauce.  ...

Sorry.  I'm back.  :)  Trader Joe's is just so beyond.  Everything is so neatly packaged and extremely well priced.  Most of you know that I'm not a big veg-eater, but they have such a nice selection that it's almost tempting.  

If you're into fresh flowers and plants, they have you covered, too.  What are some of your favorites?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What I Know For Sure

I guess Oprah inspired this new series of posts.  When the inspiration strikes, I'll share some of my life lessons so far.  The first is one that I stand by.

People will make time and money for whom and what they want to make time and money for. 

I mean this in a fairly general sense.  I don't mean that if someone wants a Mercedes, they will have a Mercedes, although they could.  I'm talking more about the day to day stuff.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Friend Roth

A Roth IRA is for me.  And you.

I have been reading about Roth IRAs since my days of working at a bank, and I meant to open one then.  It's one of those things that can easily get away from you.  I'm telling you that right now is the time.  It's a breeze.  Please bear with me in this post; I only share what I feel is valuable information.  Wink!

Starting my own was part of getting my financial house in order over the weekend.  The gist is this: you save money for your retirement, and this is money that has already been taxed.  Ideally, you would want to practice that whole out-of-sight-out-of-mind thing, but if you do need to access it, you can always take what you deposited (not the earnings) tax-free.  There are fewer rules than with a traditional IRA, and you can access the money at a younger age (59 1/2).  You can also pull up to $10,000 for the purchase of your first house.  Bonus!

Consider this as well: taxes will most likely be higher when you and I retire because, much like the mercury in a Tennessee summer, they rarely go down.  Also, you could make bank and be in a higher tax bracket when you retire.  Good for Uncle Sam, bad for you.

The current maximum amount for the year of 2011 is $5,000.  You can open one at places like Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and Vanguard.  Depending on which place you choose, you can generally start small and work up to the maximum amount if you are so inclined.  Remember that if your company offers a match for their 401(k), you'd want to contribute first to that account, at least up to the amount that they will match.  That is what's called free money, which is a rarity in this day and age.

If you're interested, there's a lot more information here and here.  Someone once said that you should pay yourself first, and I definitely agree.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Shady In The Best Way

Warby Parker is coming out with a line of sunglasses.  And just like their regular specs, for every pair sold, they'll donate a pair of glasses to someone in need.  Plus, soon enough they'll have prescription shades. 

I can't wait.  It will be the first time I've ever been able to wear sunglasses.  Ok.  That's a bit dramatic because I've always had options.  But they have not been up to par.  Not the case with Warby Parker.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Money Talks

I spent a chunk of the weekend getting my financial house in order, as it were.  Not that it was out of hand, mind you.  But it was time for me to take control.  Remember my resolution?  My first stops were LearnVest and Money Under 30, which are great resources for financial information.  Then it was on to Mint.

Mint is this totally free, totally awesome site that allows you to securely see all of your money matters in one place.  There are charts, graphs, text alerts...oh my.  You can set a goal, track spending trends, and learn tons of information.

Then it was on to  This is the place that Suze (and the FTC) recommend.  It's the only legitimate and free place to see your credit report.  You can view your report with each of the three major agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) once a year, per the government.  There's also information about disputing false information.  Sorry--there's a lack of flashy graphics here, but that's sort of for the best.

My last stop was Credit Karma.

Similar to the last link, this place provides your actual credit score instead of the report.  For free.  And you can check your own score as often as you'd like.  For free.  They also give tips about dealing with debt in all of its incarnations.

Note: I do not purport to be any type of financial expert.  I'm simply telling you how I spent several hours of a Sunday afternoon.  My point in all of this is that the information is out there for us.  And it's free.  (Have I mentioned that?)  And secure.  And no one is going to do this stuff for you.  If you take some time on the front end, I promise you that it will be worth it. 

Don't wait too late to pay yourself.  The time value of money is a very powerful thing.